Question about 1995 BMW 3 Series

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My BMW 316i Recently had an overheating problem. I was in traffic when steam started coming from the bonet, people pushed me to the side, and i let the engine cool down. Luckily a mechanic stopped, got mesome water to re-fill it with to get home on. Once i had re-filled it, it seemed to stay very cold, jsut above the blue marker on the gauge, not even within the 3 centre marks. This is only when im moving though, when stood still, it returns to normal remperature. I flushed and replaced the system's coolant (extremely dirty! brown froth...) and it is still having the same problem. normal when sat still, cold when moving. I was thinkin it could be the thermostat, or possible head gasket, or both. It doesnt seem to be leaking any coolant/water though. Can anybody help me with this??

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It doesn't sound good, let's hope it is nothing but a thermostat. But,,,, the brown stuff does not sound good. It sounds like oil, If you can get it to a radiator shop, a compression check will tell you if the head gasket is blown, it doesn't take much, one tiny hole will do in an engine. But if the comp check finds a leak, they will tell you exactly where it is, and how much to fix it. It usually runs in the 1 to 2 thousand dollar range, and when they see your car pull in, the cash register goes Kachink, Also, look for steam coming out the exhaust, oil in the water, you already found, and then water in the oil. When the thermostat goes, it usually doesn't do anything but prevent the car from heating up. They get stuck in the open position because they never get cold enough to close. That is here in Florida anyway. Check it out, hope this helps.

Posted on Nov 09, 2010

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  • Eifion Edwards Nov 09, 2010

    Im in Cardiff, Wales, UK. Its 15 degrees C (60deg F) so it is cold anyway, which could be why it cools so fast when driving. especially with wind speeds cooling it too. But i will get the Thermostat replaced ASAP, MOT is due soon, so will get both done together. Is it ok to run back and fore work until i get this done? approx 50miles a day. (80km)

  • Ned  White
    Ned White Nov 10, 2010

    The thermostat ,if it is stuck in the open position would not let the engine reach operating temp. you would have to stuff cardboard in front of the radiator and that wouldn't even do it. Hopefully, that is the problem. The air temp is not tat cold, but it could be cold enough, wind does not effect inanimate objects like cars, only humans and animals. Keep an eye on the temp gauge, make sure it doesn't over heat, and check the exhaust for steam. You might be OK, And nobody over here knows what MOT is??

  • Eifion Edwards Nov 10, 2010

    MOT is a 'Ministry of Transport' Test. Every car over 3 years old has to have one done every year to say that the car is safe and ok to drive. you can drive a car on the roads without one.

    ButIm not leaking anything from the cooling system, and i meant the wind speed of 70mph winds as the car is moving, the wind resistance. Also even though it may stop it cooling so much, i reckon cardboard over the Rad is a bit risky!!! lol. i've got a new thermostat for £30 now, $50-60. That SHOULD let the engine heat up to op temp.


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Your thermostat broke I had the same prob on my bmw 323i replace it first it will be ok I am sure .

Posted on Feb 19, 2011

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